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Failure to diagnose dental infections: a growing problem

Many people in Houston will have a serious dental condition at some point in their life. Teeth are often overlooked in healthcare; dental insurance can be expensive, and many people feel like they should be able to tolerate oral pain. However, when patients do seek dental care for a serious condition, providers need respond with timely and appropriate treatment. The failure to diagnose and treat dental infections can result in hospital stays, severe pain, long-term conditions and even death for some patients.

Recently there has been an unfortunate increase in hospitalization for serious dental infections. According to a recent study in the Journal of Endodontics, the number of people seeking emergency treatment for dental infections has risen 40% since 2000. The study mentions that those who have teeth infections seek emergency hospital treatment when their infection goes untreated. Some of those who sought emergency treatment and were hospitalized even died.

A failure to diagnose an infection in any part of the human body, including the mouth and teeth, has the potential to leave a patient hospitalized in serious condition; in some cases it can even lead to death when a simple root canal could have solved the initial problem.

Negligence on the part of a medical professional who fails to diagnose or respond to dental infections can result in serious outcomes for patients. Any Houston resident who has experienced medical negligence in regards to a dental infection may wish to consider contacting a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. It is important to hold medical staff accountable and compensation may be owed to the victim.

Source: Modern Healthcare, "Serious dental infections requiring hospitalization up 40% since 2000," Ashok Selvam, Sept. 3, 2013.

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